Working together to build a bigger, stronger Internet

The Internet Society’s vision is that the Internet is for everyone. Earlier this month, we wrote about our efforts to ensure a stable and diverse funding model to support the work that takes us towards our vision. The role of the Board of Trustees is to provide, with support from the community, the strategic direction for that work. In this post, we discuss our recent and current strategic efforts, put them into context, and provide pointers with more information for our community to get involved in defining our wanted future.

Naturally, the starting point of our current strategy was to agree with the community on the overall direction. Therefore, two years ago, during 2017, the Board consulted with our community to revise our mission statement into what we have today. Many of you contributed to that 2017 effort, which resulted in the following three focus areas:

  • Building and supporting the communities that make the Internet work;
  • Advancing the development and application of Internet infrastructure, technologies, and open standards; and
  • Advocating for policy that is consistent with our view of the Internet

Based on that community agreement on the development of this new mission, the Board of Trustees began the work on a plan to change the structure of the Internet Society in order to best support this refreshed mission. This plan eventually led to the creation of two new “supporting organizations” during 2018.

One aspect of our plan was working with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to create a new supporting organization in the form of the IETF LLC. The establishment of the IETF LLC was discussed at length with the IETF community. While the Internet Society remains the largest funding source for the IETF, the result is that the IETF LLC formally gives the IETF legal status, and more freedom to manage their support activities, including budgeting.

A second aspect of our plan was the creation of the Internet Society Foundation to provide funding to the community in several key areas. As the Foundation team recently explained in the Foundation’s own Action Plan 2020, they will be funding work within our Chapters, Special Interest Groups (SIGs), and other communities; funding research and innovation; and supporting partners to help develop disaster-resilient communities. In addition, the Foundation will be supporting projects that strengthen communities, and improve lives and livelihoods. As usual, we will be seeking ideas from our community.

The Internet Society Foundation has already been providing grants in 2019 and is looking forward to expanding that work in 2020. Remain alert for future calls for grant applications.

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